A Pair of 1980s Packard Bell PCs: PB 500 & VX88

June 17, 2022 by 38 Comments



Unboxing, inspecting, and testing two old Packard Bell PCs from the late 80s that need restoring! I imported these VX88 and PB500 Turbo XT PCs from Canada a while back and they each need some repair and testing. So let’s do it! Or, as much as I can in the scope of this video anyway. I was happily surprised how functional one them ended up being, and the other will have to wait for a future restoration.

● LGR links:
https://www.patreon.com/LazyGameReviews
https://www.twitter.com/LazyGameReviews
https://www.facebook.com/LazyGameReviews

● Grab an archive of the ST-238R hard disk contents here:
https://archive.org/details/lgr-pb500-hdd

● All background music licensed from:
http://www.epidemicsound.com

00:00 Introduction & Unboxing
02:06 Two Nifty Old Packard Bells
04:45 1987 Packard Bell VX88
06:35 1988 Packard Bell PB500
11:30 Power Supply Testing
12:56 First Startup, Video Card Stuff
15:36 Booting Up the PB 500!
17:23 Backup with LapLink
18:31 A Moment of Zen
19:00 Exploring the ST-238R
23:50 Commander Keen 4 CGA
24:46 TopBench Performance Test
25:40 Silpheed
27:02 The PB 500 is Neat.
27:48 ATI GSSC Dip Switch Test
28:06 Plantronics Colorplus Graphics
29:26 Outroduction

#LGR #retro #computers

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38 Replies to “A Pair of 1980s Packard Bell PCs: PB 500 & VX88”

  1. You are the absolute Sherlock Holmes of PC BadAssery 😀

  2. zintosion says:

    Opening a box full of termites?! Vietnam flashback when it legit happen to me

    NOO NOOO NOT AGAIN I CAN'T NOOOOOO!!!!!

  3. For the echoes: hang a couple of old bath towels off camera. You’ll be shocked how well they absorb them.

  4. Josh M says:

    Really appreciate that moment of zen with the hard drive sounds.. Something that you'll never hear in a new PC again.

  5. Came here for the flip flops and termites. Disappointed… 🙁

  6. VWestlife says:

    You are correct about the keyboard speed switching on the PB 500. It boots up at 4.77 MHz, and to switch it into 9.54 MHz turbo mode you press Ctrl – Alt – Plus (on the numeric keypad). The LED will then change from orange to green. I think originally it would've come with a small program to do the speed change in software, so you could put it in your AUTOEXEC file. Ctrl – Alt – Minus switches it back to slow speed.

  7. nulious says:

    I have a Seagate ST225 on a shelf behind my PC. It came out of an PCXT clone my parents got around 84-85. I used it until 94 when it finally died of old age.

  8. If you delete lsconfig.sys from the C:susan directory it removes all restrictions. (it also deletes the 'backup' and 'ability' entries, but you can re add those in the menu). Also if you type the '?' on the menu you get instructions on how to use the software

  9. Bolling Holt says:

    16:32 Hey! At least it earned its A+ certification! 😉

  10. These HD beeps made me imediatly think of the first Quake initial stages…

  11. Silpheed MT32 soundtrack is one of the best!

  12. Thank you, just what my mood needed. Except now I want to buy another XT clone again….

  13. From what I know, the ST-238 ist "just" a ST-225 selected to be suitable for RLL?

  14. Axel Werner says:

    LapLink… omg…… flashbacks….

  15. Those Darn Tantalums, coming this fall on CBS!

  16. Ian Pillow says:

    Now we have a Schrödinger's flip flop

  17. Graeme Ellis says:

    Gotta say, always enjoy the LGR Closed Captions. Thanks. They would take extra time to do. Appreciate them.

  18. R C says:

    Got some jelly to go with all that PB?

  19. TheSulross says:

    am surprised that no retro computing channels have bothered to donanseries on surveying TSR software from the 80s. Am actually noodling a resurection of the TSR. On Linux there is a significant audience that likes full screen terminal software over GUI because it's still faster to screen render. I use a program called Standard Notes that I use in a manner analogous to TSRs. So a memory resident applet that does some useful things, is summoned instantly with a hot key, and an efficient UI that can be keyboard driven and renders ultra fast – that still has appeal. Is Maybe time to bring back a modernized TSR concept…

  20. Bolling Holt says:

    18:31 DAMN I miss when hard drives sounded like that.

  21. Me: Watching on a 1200mbps connection on a 55" 4K TV on a 3070.

    YouTube: You want 240p.

  22. Atrix RBX says:

    An hour late…

  23. MeanderBot says:

    Man, I miss hard drive noises.

  24. Blainn says:

    18:48 what makes the old hardrive make those noises? why is it doing it. and comfy as always LGR nice one

  25. bill s says:

    I've used Laplink a few times. A friend had a pb with a single card the had sound printer and serial on it.

  26. John Kelly says:

    The sound of that hard drive takes me back. My first pc in 1990 had that same drive. Seagate had a factory in Oklahoma City at that time, so they were the dominant drives around here.

  27. Jim Flagg says:

    I thought Turbo was Ctrl+Alt+ "+" but I could be wrong.

  28. Liu Kang says:

    its like starting a jetplane l0l

  29. TWX1138 says:

    The Packard Bell PB500 was my first computer. It was a price club special that my dad bought, 640K RAM, 30MB hard disk drive, 5.25" floppy disk, with an ATI 8-bit ISA video card. I added a 2400 baud modem and 3.5" floppy.

    So some did come with a hard disk drive.

    Turbo mode was by a keyboard command, but I don't remember how to do it at this point. maybe ctrl/alt+ and ctrl/alt/-?

    I think that both the floppy and the hard disk are not original in the PB500, mine were the darker gray and contrasted with the beige of the case.

    That training software came with a thick book, and I can cite that software and that book at teaching me how to use DOS, setting me off on my IT career path.

  30. That happens with old computers back in 2004 our family was given a old computer and then I guess this guy worked in taxes and had a bunch of people's social security numbers😳so we gave it to a Shriner and he destroyed it luckily we wound up with it and did the right thing just think of it went to someone shady🤯

  31. Eric Hartman says:

    Beautiful sounds.

  32. I absolutely LOVE the sound the old ST-225 made when accessing. It was a soothing tone – I'm sure you know exactly what I'm sayin'. That newer HDD in that machine is WAY too fast to be as soothing as my beloved ST225.

  33. BF4pawntard says:

    That hard drive noise is absolutely awesome.

  34. Joe S says:

    Ahh the LGR we know and love. Thank you!

  35. Old Liquid says:

    Nice hdd sound indeed

  36. Regarding 3d-printing an "over-the-top" bracket for cards – the reason this one works so well is that the PCB extends to the full height of the blanking plate, so there is very little plastic or support needed. That's unfortunately not a universal solution because cards definitely don't adhere to that as a standard 🙁

  37. Josh Hiner says:

    Sorry whats the last game he is playing where the game character collects the diamonds? Thanks

  38. 8 Bits says:

    what was that game that you showed off in the outro there? looks very familiar.